1. Start investing early. Let compounding work for you. Saving money as soon as you get out of college will put you a decade ahead of the game when it comes to either retiring on time or retiring early.
2. Automate your savings. Set up automatic transfer from your paycheck. Move money into your 401k, IRA, and HSA all without ever having to see it. This will reduce the temptation to spend it.
3. Maximize your savings. Max out your retirement accounts. All retirement accounts have a yearly maximum that you can contribute. Deduct from your paycheck the exact amount that will max out that account
4. No credit card balances. If you only pay the minimum on your credit card bill it could take you 20 years to pay it off. Then that $20k balance will end up costing you a few hundred thousand and even more in retirement. Cancel the damn things and get it paid off asap!
5. Live like you're poor. Follow the role models of Sam Walton, Carlos Slim, and Warren Buffett. Drive older cars, live in the same house for decades, enjoy the free things in life like family gatherings, sunsets, early morning coffee conversations with your wife, and telling stories with your friends. Only splurge after all else is done.
Here are three scenarios. You decide in which one you would like to be...
1. Save $500 per month starting at age 25, work until 65. Net worth = $1,197,810
2. Start saving $500 per month at the age of 35, work until 65. Net worth = $566,764
3. Take 20 years to pay off credit card debt. Start saving $500 per month at age of 45, work until 65. Net worth = $245,972